Kale And Spinach: Less Healthy Than We Think?
The first few months of every new year are always a popular time for kale and spinach. These are the two ubiquitous “superfoods” that serve as the anchor for so many New Year diets.
Leafy-green vegetables provide an undeniable amount of important nutritional value, and there are many varieties to choose from. Yet, kale and spinach are so often the only vegetables people gravitate to on the journey to health.
Despite health trends, a balanced diet can consist of a wide range of foods and supplements that provide all the necessary nutrients. Here are a few reasons that kale and spinach should move aside.
Kale: An Overrated Vegetable
For over a decade, kale has been the trendiest vegetable on the planet. There are some dedicated dieters who eat it year round, but most people will stop buying kale by the end of January.
As much as we might hate to admit it, kale is a difficult vegetable to work with. It’s a difficult vegetable to incorporate in meals, and it’s even more difficult to digest. Achieving any sort of variety with kale requires a massive overhaul of your list of recipes. Even the most motivated dieters will struggle to find enthusiasm dealing with kale on a nightly basis.
Making matters worse, those tenacious few that do stick with kale through January and beyond have their own set of problems to look forward to. Daily consumption of kale is directly linked with an increased chance for hyperthyroidism, a disease that throws your metabolism out of whack. Shakes made from kale and other vegetables and fruits are also deceivingly bad for your teeth.
What About Spinach?
Though kale is the current king of trendy vegetables, spinach comes in at a close number two — and it’s been trendy for way longer.
The problem with spinach has always been a lack of widespread access to all the necessary information. People eat spinach under the assumption that they’re devouring mass amounts of calcium; and while that may be true, it’s a little-known fact that they’re only absorbing about 5% of that calcium. The levels of oxalic acid found in spinach prevent the body from absorbing significant amounts of calcium.
This is not to say, however, that spinach is bad for you. But if you’re going to eat spinach, you should be eating it for its nutrients you will be able to absorb and eating things like almonds and broccoli for calcium.
Are There any Real Superfoods?
Many dieters are cautious about the word “superfood”, and for good reason. There are very few foods we know of that are healthy in every sense.
One such food is known as chlorella: a freshwater algae that’s about as nutritionally complete as anything on this planet. The way the plant is grown and processed has a huge impact on its nutritional makeup. Each unique strain, however, provides nutrients that are uncommon in all types of plants. Certain strains of the alga are high in vitamin B-12 which is otherwise almost nonexistent in vegetarian-friendly food. Other strains provide nearly as much protein as milk and eggs.
Kale and spinach are still healthy enough foods to eat occasionally, but their benefits have been blown out of proportion for years on end. A balanced diet requires a healthy dose of many types of foods — and perhaps a dash of super-algae. One thing is for sure: if kale and spinach are the base of your diet this year, it may be time to expand your horizons.